A lot of things might change with the seasons, however, when it comes to construction, projects continue on throughout the year. While some extreme weather might delay construction, for the most part, your construction company will continue to gear up as the colder winter months arrive. Just like there are safety precautions that should be taken during the high heat days of summer, there are several do’s and don’ts to follow in order to keep your crew safe in the winter months as well. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare your projects during the upcoming winter season!
Inspect the Site
Extreme winter weather can cause a lot of issues on your construction site that will need to be tended to before your crew begins working. Special attention should be given when snowfall has occurred, as it can affect a wide range of things and can cause several obstacles that need to be worked around. Inspect your site and the surrounding area for any downed trees or power lines that could cause a hazardous work environment. While snow can pose a few problems, it isn’t the only winter weather symptom you should be wary of. Ice is a hazard for your work crews and is common even in areas where it rarely snows. This is especially a problem when you are working on roofs or with ladders or scaffolds. Be sure to completely remove any snow or ice, and always utilize fall safety gear when there is any ice present. Use salt or sand on icy patches on or near the construction site, and clearly mark any areas where it is still present. Caution should be taken by working slower, taking smaller steps, and paying extra attention when carrying tools or materials.
Heated Break Areas
In colder temperatures, crew members will expend more energy in order to keep their body heat up, so it is important that frequent breaks are taken in a heated space. This will give them a chance to rest and regain their energy, drink a warm beverage, and change out of any potentially wet clothing. You should also take this as an opportunity to look for signs of fatigue or hypothermia and to remind your crew of general safety tips for working in the cold weather.
Know Your Equipment
One of the biggest ways you can keep everyone safe and prevent damaging expensive equipment is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on warming up equipment. Some tools or equipment, especially electrical wires or hoses, are far more brittle in the cold, so taking precautions can prevent severely damaging those. It is especially important to pay extra attention to any equipment that utilizes fluids or oils when the temperature drops close to freezing. Double check that those liquids are rated for the climate you are working in. Using antifreeze in pneumatic tools can help protect them during the cold weather, as well as draining any fluid from an air compressor that could freeze and cause damage to the equipment. If you aren’t certain about the proper steps for your specific tools, consult the owner’s or manufacturer’s guide to keep all of your equipment working properly and your crew safe!